It’s spring. The birds are nesting and chirping, the days are getting longer, and people are trying to get their summertime bodies in order. A lot of people, men and women alike, turn to running in order to get fit and help improve their physical health. For those who are picking up an old habit or just starting out in the running world, it’s important to take steps to avoid injury and get the anticipated results. Training for races that take place during the summer is a great incentive to stay on the right running track (or trail!).
- 1. Going too hard
We all like to overestimate our abilities sometimes, but it’s important to remember that our bodies might not always be in sync with our minds. Running is a great way to exercise, but remember to ease in to it. Don’t be embarrassed by lack of ability, because everyone has to start somewhere. And just remember, according to Confucius, it doesn’t matter how slow we go as long as we do not stop.
- 2. Speed training
Most of us aren’t competitive runners, so any races we enter are more for completion that trophies. Of course, we might want to outdo our personal best or set a goal, but doing hardcore speed training intervals can cause injuries in new or renewed runners. Allow the body to acclimate to the new amounts of exercise before adding in crazy speed drills – make sure those muscles and lungs are strong enough to handle that amount and intensity of training.
- 3. Coordinating the shoes
One of the great draws that running holds for many aspiring athletes is the relative lack of gear that runners have to buy. Shoes are really our own accessory, and it can be tempting to blow a lot of money on sneakers that are our favorite color or that match our workout gear. But getting the right shoe, regardless of color or brand, is imperative to preventing injury. Check out a specialty running shoe shop in the area to make sure what’s on those feet is the absolute best for them.
Running can be incredibly freeing, but it can also be lonely, and, sometimes, boring. Make sure to switch up training – run with a buddy once or twice a week, take a yoga class or do Zumba, try swimming, so on and so forth. Don’t think that the only exercise runners can do is run – keeping the body fresh and the mind interesting can help avoid athletic plateaus.
- 5. Ignoring ourselves
When we feel pain, it’s because, well, we hurt. And some tightness or a twinge here and there can be signs of a serious problem – or they can lead to a serious problem if they’re not addressed. Make sure to attend to those issues when they first pop up to save lots of pain and discomfort, and potentially serious injury.